Who knows twenty-three?

Please cite/link your sources, if possible. After about one business day, I will:

  • Upvote all interesting answers.

  • Accept the best answer.

  • Go on to the next number.


23 cubits (and a fraction) is the difference in elevation between the Spring of Eitam and the courtyard of the Beis Hamikdash.

The importance of this is that this spring was the source for the Kohen Gadol's mikvah, which was situated atop one of the gates (twenty cubits above the courtyard) and which was three cubits tall. In this way the water could flow into the mikvah based on gravity alone, without requiring pumps or the like, which would disqualify it. (Yoma 31a)

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    Checkmark indicates my soft spots for the Temple and for engineering. May the current generation of engineers merit to participate in the Rebuilding! – Isaac Moses Apr 26 '10 at 15:40

Twenty three is one of the two days of the Omer on which the Base 7 and Base 10 representations of the count are the reverse of each other, so you end up saying the same two digits, in the same order, twice, when you count.

  • You beat me to it! I was thinking of the same thing. – Alex Apr 23 '10 at 17:32
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    This has been my pet Omer trivia for about 10 years. Most people I've mentioned it to looked at me funny. – Isaac Moses Apr 23 '10 at 17:36
  • And the reason for this is simply that 6×3=9×2. – msh210 Apr 28 '15 at 5:32
  • May I ask what the other one is? – DonielF Mar 10 '17 at 16:44
  • @DonielF: 46 – Isaac Moses Mar 10 '17 at 16:46

23 are the judges of a Sanhedrin. (Notice I said "a Sanhedrin" meaning the smallest Beis Din that can apply death penalties as opposed to the Great Sanhedrin that sat in the "Hewn Chamber" in the Beis Hamikdash.) (Sanhedrin, 2ab)

  • The Vilna Gaon, hm? Maybe I should change my Gravatar to the Baal Hatanya's picture! :) – Alex Apr 23 '10 at 21:57
  • The Baal HaTanya was my other top choice! – Yahu Apr 25 '10 at 3:57
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    It's just that I have this name in common with the GR"A... – Yahu Apr 25 '10 at 4:39

23 are the years that Avraham and Sarah spent proselytizing in Charan.

[They started in the year 2000 since Creation, when Avraham was 52 (Avodah Zarah 9a), and they left Charan permanently when Avraham was 75 (Gen. 12:4).]

  • Nice new picture Alex! – Yahu Apr 23 '10 at 17:35
  • Thanks! You can change it using Gravatar. (Incidentally, Isaac, the name - and the link - are wrong on the Tips page.) – Alex Apr 23 '10 at 17:39
  • Oh dear, that was silly. Thanks for telling me; it's fixed now. Is your pic from anywhere in particular? – Isaac Moses Apr 23 '10 at 17:48
  • From here: findanalaskacruise.com/alaska-glacier-cruise.php. Alaska is one of the states I haven't been to yet, but would like to. :) – Alex Apr 23 '10 at 18:44

Twenty-three are the books of Tanach that the Talmud says are definitely non-fiction.

(Iyov/Job being the odd man out, one opinion in the Talmud (Bava Basra 15a) is that he never existed.)

  • Where does the Talmud say the other 23 are definitely non-fiction? – Double AA Oct 28 '13 at 2:28

23 are the days from Rosh Hashanah to Simchas Torah outside of the Land of Israel.

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